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Author Topic: Could Earth's orbit be changed by everything being moved to one area?  (Read 2862 times)

Herman Melville

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Could Earth's orbit be changed by everything being moved to one area?

If we took all the cars, people, building materials, houses, factories, furniture, rubbish -- everything that could be picked up and transported, in other words -- to one part of the planet, would it affect Earth's orbit?

Obviously the basic shape/structure of the landscape would stay the same, but would it represent an enormous shift in weight distribution if all of the man-made stuff was moved to one general area?

Or is our 'stuff' mere dust on the tops of the rocks that make up the planet?

(If I was Neil, I would now post an amusing picture to illustrate this idea.)


 

Offline JnA

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I once read an analogy that said that even if you took the deepest pit we have ever dug it will still not be as deep as a dimple if the earth was a golf ball... or something like that.

Any effect would probably be minimal.
 

Offline Ophiolite

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It should have no effect on the Earth's orbit. There should be a miniscule, probably unmeasurable, effect on its rotation.
 

Offline Ians Daddy

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Wow. It's been years since I was here last. Missed Y'all.
As a commercial flooring contractor, I had a conversation with a client the other day on this very topic. We discussed the stone quarries that export all the marbles and granites throughout the world. If your taking all that stone from one spot and shipping it elsewhere and it tends to accumulate in one spot, will it affect the tilt / orbit / speed of the earth? He used an analogy of putting a wad of gum on a ball and throwing it. It may affect it slightly, but not enough to notice... Until caught.
Just a thought.
 

Offline Don_1

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Considering that planet earth weighs in at around 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (6E+24) kilograms and is gaining weight all the time from space debris falling through our atmosphere to Earth, I rather doubt our comparatively puny efforts would have as much effect as that of a minuscule dimple on a football.
 

Offline ggannon

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No effect at all
 

Offline Bored chemist

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The path of the centre of gravity of the earth would still trace out the same path.
 

Offline Ophiolite

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The path of the centre of gravity of the earth would still trace out the same path.
Which is implicit in my earlier remark that it would effect its rotation, but not its orbit.
 

Offline L_D

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The damming of rivers would be the biggest impact man has had on effecting the distribution of mass on the planet, I wonder if a couple of the bigger dams aren't almost the equivalent of what the OP is suggesting?.

In other words, to all intents and purposes, has the experiment already been done?.
 

Offline Don_1

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All the water held by man made dams would be like taking a thimble full from your bath (USA - tub) compared to the Pacific Ocean alone.
 

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